August 21 2004
DEVASTATING AD: The second
swift boat ad is devastating to the Kerry campaign and
Kerry's opponents are very smart to move the attack from
what Kerry did or didn't do in Vietnam, but to his involvement
in the radical antiwar movement when he returned home.
I said in my post
yesterday, it is Kerry's antiwar actions upon returning
from Vietnam where the Democrats are supremely vulnerable,
and this ad scores a direct hit.
TOM OLIPHANT IN DENIAL: The Left is enraged that
it no longer has total control over what is, or is not,
covered in the mainstream media. On the Newshour
with Jim Lehrer the Boston Globe's Tom Oliphant
tried to snottily delegitimize the entire Kerry/Swift Boat
story with this observation:
credibility problem, which is what keeps this thing in
the tabloids primarily and on cable television where there
are different standards.
hilarious about this statement, is Oliphant is on PBS with
Jim Lehrer (about as 180 degrees from tabloid as you can
get) when he tries to dismiss this as a story fit only for
right-wing hack radio and super market tabloids.
on in the interview while trying to fend off the charges
to Command's John O'Neill, he tries again to suggest
that the story is relegated only to the tabloids.
the standard of clear and convincing evidence-- and it's
easy when you leave out the exculpatory stuff-- is what
keeps this story in the tabloids because it does not meet
quickly steps in and brings Oliphant back to reality:
of course it's no longer in the tabloids because Sen.
Kerry brought it up himself. That's why we're talking
about it tonight.
of course you would have to be on Mars to be a political
report and think that this story is relegated to the tabloids.
Oliphant and his friends in the Kerry campaign may wish
this story were relegated only to the supermarket tabloids.
However, unfortunately for the Democrats the media playing
field is much more difficult to control with the Internet,
FOX News and a booming talk radio industry. Twenty years
ago this story probably could have been completely buried
by the mainstream press and left to the tabloids.
irony here is even though there was a powerful case that
this was a story that deserved, at least, as much coverage
as the Bush National Guard ruckus, had the Kerry campaign
just toughed it out one more week, he might have been able
to skate by without the big-line media picking it up in
any real way.
attack on Thursday however, makes that a moot point, and
the Kerry campaign will have to foster a backlash against
President Bush and Republicans if they hope to have any
chance of neutralizing this issue.
HIGH JOURNALISTIC STANDARDS: Glenn
Reynolds reminds us:
high journalistic standards probably should have led him
to disclose that his daughter works for the Kerry/Edwards
campaign. Hmm. Maybe -- though in the world of journalism,
they think such connections are assumed, and thus aren't
regarded as requiring disclosure.
McIntyre 2:53 pm Link
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August 20 2004
KERRY CAMPAIGN'S FIRST SERIOUS MISTAKE: Yesterday
afternoon I received a form email from John Kerry campaign
manager, Mary Beth Cahill. It began:
Today marks the end of the dishonest and disgusting smear
campaign against John Kerry and his crewmates from Vietnam.
This morning on the front page of the Washington Post,
one of the central figures in the effort to distort John
Kerry's military service was completely discredited.
Kerry campaign must have thought that yesterday's
front page Washington Post story attempting to discredit
one of Kerry's critics, coupled with Kerry's
public engagement of the issue in his speech to a Boston
firefighters union was going to be enough to put the story
to rest. But by forcefully attacking the Swift Boat Veterans
for Truth as ''a front for the Bush campaign" that
is doing the President's ''dirty work," Kerry has forced
the mainstream press to finally confront this issue which
up until yesterday they had been, more or less, ignoring.
the Internet best seller Unfit
for Command and the
Swift Boat Veterans for Truth had in many ways cornered
the Kerry campaign and not left them with many attractive
options. On one hand they could continue to ignore the issue,
and hope the press refused to cover it in any meaningful
way, and get through next week where the impending GOP convention
would then act to change the subject. Or they could confront
the issue and try to put the story to rest, which of course
opens up the possibility of drawing more attention to a
story they don't want covered in the first place.
the Kerry campaign thinks this issue is playing well for
them, or they think they can turn the issue around and create
a backlash against President Bush, I don't understand yesterday's
tactics. Because of Kerry's counterattack yesterday, they
have provided a further opening for Kerry's opponents on
multiple fronts. First as much as the liberal media wants
the anti-Kerry veterans to be a bunch of ragtag, right -wing
nuts, they don't necessarily come across that way. The more
exposure and coverage they get, the more it will make it
increasingly harder to discredit them. Mickey Kaus writes
big-time journalist friends who met with the anti-Kerry
vets recently found them a lot more credible than expected.
O'Neill graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and was first
in his law school class at the University of Texas. He's
very well spoken and makes a powerful case against Senator
Kerry's Vietnam record. Another vet, Larry Thurlow, did
more than hold his own on MSNBC's
Hardball against a very combative and hostile Chris Mathews.
is really problematic for the Kerry campaign is this will
eventually segue into Kerry's antiwar conduct when he came
home from Vietnam. And it is his post-Vietnam antiwar record,
more than anything, that has the potential to do real damage
to his candidacy.
four-month stint in Vietnam is not only meant to provide
foreign policy and national security cover for his dovish
record in the US Senate, but it is also meant to provide
cover for his antiwar crusade when he returned from Vietnam.
effectively used his Vietnam record to assist in getting
the Democratic nomination, and he wisely played up his service
at the Democratic convention a month ago. But from the Democrats'
perspective, that is where they wanted and needed the story
to end. That probably won't happen now that Kerry has publicly
attacked the swift boat vets as a bunch of liars and a front
for the Bush campaign.
the Kerry camp is counting on its friends in the press to
spin their side (as the NY
Times does on the front page this morning) in a
way that limits the damage or even precipitates a backlash
against President Bush. Nevertheless, by engaging on the
issue they've provided a big opening for more coverage of
Kerry's antiwar past and thus have given up, at least to
some degree, control over the narrative of the central rationale
for their candidate's bid for the White House. The risk-reward
analysis doesn't seem to justify their decision.
McIntyre 10:43 am Link
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August 19 2004
WHAT BOB HERBERT DIDN'T TELL YOU: Earlier
this week Bob
Herbert caused quite a stir by alleging that officers
from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) were
using a phony vote fraud investigation to intimidate elderly
African-American voters and try to suppress black turnout
at the polls in Florida this November. "The vile smell
of voter suppression is all over this so-called investigation
by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement," Herbert
this is such a serious and inflammatory charge - and knowing
a bit about how Herbert operates - I spent some time yesterday
checking out the story. As you might expect, it turns out
Herbert omitted several key details (and twisted a few others)
that severely undermine his claim that the vote fraud investigation
in Florida is illegitimate and designed to intimidate African-Americans.
let's start with Herbert's characterization of the investigation:
officers, from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement,
which reports to Gov. Jeb Bush, say they are investigating
allegations of voter fraud that came up during the Orlando
mayoral election in March.
refused to discuss details of the investigation, other
than to say that absentee ballots are involved. They said
they had no idea when the investigation might end, and
acknowledged that it may continue right through the presidential
this way, the investigation does indeed sound fishy. It's
also true that when you call the FDLE they refuse to discuss
the details of the case - but only because there
is an ongoing criminal investigation. This is standard
operating procedure anywhere in the country.
even armed with the sparse information from Herbert's column,
after spending an hour or so using Google and Lexis/Nexis
you can discover the specifics of the fraud investigation
taking place. Here they are:
March 9, 2004 Orlando
Mayor Buddy Dyer won reelection with 12,422
votes out of the 24,375 ballots cast. However, to avoid
a runoff Dyer needed to break the 50%, which he did in the
end by only 234 votes, and with the help of a good number
of absentee ballots.
it turns out, 264 of those absentee ballots were witnessed
by Ezzie Thomas, President of the Orlando League of Voters.
This is, of course, the same Ezzie Thomas that Bob Herbert
describes in his column by saying, "with his demonstrated
ability to deliver the black vote in Orlando, Mr. Thomas
is a tempting target for supporters of George W. Bush in
a state in which the black vote may well spell the difference
between victory and defeat."
fails to mention that, as reported in the Orlando Sentinel
on July 25, 2004, Mr. Thomas was paid $10,000 by Mayor Dyer
to collect absentee ballots for the election and that his
handling of absentee ballots has been under scrutiny in
the past (including as recently as 2002) though charges
have never been filed.
time, they were. Right after the election in March, second
place finisher Ken Mulvaney filed a civil suit to try and
get the absentee ballots witnessed by Thomas thrown out
and get himself into a runoff with Dyer. Mulvaney interviewed
a number of absentee ballot voters and eventually produced
42 signed affidavits alleging mishandling of ballots.
April 8 a circuit judge in Orlando decided there was enough
evidence to proceed with the suit. Additionally, Mulvaney's
complaint sparked the FDLE criminal investigation which
Herbert decries as a concerted effort to suppress the black
that we have some perspective, let's go back and look again
at the way Herbert characterizes the investigation in his
asked Mr. Morales in a telephone conversation to tell
me what criminal activity had taken place.
can't talk about that," he said.
asked if all the people interrogated were black.
mainly it was a black neighborhood we were looking at
- yes,'' he said.
also said, "Most of them were elderly."
I asked why, he said, "That's just the people we
selected out of a random sample to interview."
in the bad old days, some decades ago, when Southern whites
used every imaginable form of chicanery to prevent blacks
from voting, blacks often fought back by creating voters
leagues, which were organizations that helped to register,
educate and encourage black voters. It became a tradition
that continues in many places, including Florida, today.
reason many of the people interviewed were elderly African-Americans
is because they were selected at random from the pool of
264 absentee ballots in question witnessed by Ezzie Thomas,
which he collected from elderly African-Americans. Does
this sound like racism to you?
even that is grossly misleading. The truth is that the FDLE
investigation quickly widened to probe allegations that
the Orlando firefighters union - a predominantly white organization
- broke the law by having its members paid to perform campaign
related activities for Dyer while on duty.
a little over two weeks ago, on Friday, August 6, the Orlando
Sentinel editorial page - not exactly a racist organization
- wrote that the probe was justified (quote via Lexis):
that there may have been election fraud with some absentee
ballots and improper payments to some union firefighters
supporting Mayor Buddy Dyer are serious business. The
state investigation into those allegations is warranted,
even though some people questioned during the probe felt
intimidated by state agents.
the investigators need to show sensitivity. Some of those
questioned were elderly blacks who may have encountered
intimidation decades ago when registering to vote. Conducting
the interviews in a setting that is comfortable, such
as their church, can put those seniors at ease. The goal
isn't to scare people, but to get the truth.
state investigation is not unfairly targeting blacks.
Part of the probe is focused on the activity of the mostly
white fire union that supported Mr. Dyer's re-election
bid. A grand jury that met this week considered allegations
that some improper payments may have gone to union members.
though Mulvaney may not win the case in the end - nor would
he be expected to win a runoff against Dyer should his lawsuit
prevail - the point is clear: this is a legitimate investigation
that is not targeting African-Americans. And it is most
certainly not an orchestrated effort by Jeb Bush or Florida
law enforcement officers to suppress the black vote in November
on behalf of the President.
that's not what Bob Herbert wants America to believe. After
looking at the details of this investigation and comparing
it to the truly dishonest and deceitful representation Herbert
presented in his column the other day, it's clear that Herbert
(along with Krugman, see
below) is part of an orchestrated, preemptive effort
to deligitimize a Bush victory in Florida should it happen
am I so convinced of this? Because the investigation of
Ezzie Thomas has been going on for months. As you can see
very end of this detailed article, up until at least
the end of May (and possibly later, I don't know), Ezzie
Thomas's lawyer was a guy named Dean Mosley.
you think it's just coincidence that Thomas's lawyer is
now Joseph Egan, the Orlando-based lawyer who was part of
Al Gore's legal team in 2000 and who is now a
$1,000 contributor to John Kerry's campaign for president?
is it also coincidence that the day after Herbert's column
came out Terry
McAuliffe used the misleading accusations in it to sow
even more doubts about the legitimacy of the results in
Bush should be as troubled as anyone that the Florida
state police at 'random' has chosen to enter the homes
of elderly African-American voters in Orlando," McAuliffe
said Tuesday. "This appears anything but random and
it is now incumbent upon Gov. Bush to demonstrate
that Florida is capable of holding an election that is
fair and above reproach." (emphasis
is truly disgraceful. Herbert, McAuliffe, and the rest of
the Democrats - the supposed "champions" of the
African-American community - are manipulating the fears
of black voters and playing on racial distrust and division
to make sure that anything approaching a close race in Florida
is contestable, and that any Bush victory is illegitimate.
It is, I'm afraid, one of the lowest things I've ever seen.
- T. Bevan 11:12 am Link
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August 17 2004
WILL THE ELECTION BE STOLEN IN FLORIDA?: Paul
Krugman suggests this morning that "there is a
substantial chance that the result of the 2004 presidential
election will be suspect."
might be inclined to dismiss his column as another example
that the Ivy League econ prof is off his meds. Not true.
Krugman is quite cannily (and preemptively) arguing that
a Bush victory in Florida will be illegitimate:
I say that the result will be suspect, I don't mean that
the election will, in fact, have been stolen. (We may
never know.) I mean that there will be sufficient
uncertainty about the honesty of the vote count
that much of the world and many Americans will have serious
might the election result be suspect? Well, to take only
one of several possibilities, suppose that Florida - where
recent polls give John Kerry the lead - once again swings
the election to George Bush.
of Florida's vote will be counted by electronic voting
machines with no paper trails. Independent computer scientists
who have examined some of these machines' programming
code are appalled at the security flaws. So there will
be reasonable doubts about whether Florida's votes were
properly counted, and no paper ballots to recount. The
public will have to take the result on faith. (emphasis
goes on to insinuate there is a concerted effort by Governor
Jeb Bush to suppress the black vote and then declares, "given
this pattern, there will be skepticism if Florida's
paperless voting machines give President Bush an upset,
Krugman is concluding, based on a
couple of polls in Florida taken right after the Democratic
National Convention showing Kerry ahead, that if Bush
wins Florida in November it will be considered an "upset"-
and an "uncheckable" one at that. This is a deeply
disingenuous and dishonest statement.
flesh out some facts. Broward and Miami-Dade counties are
now working with touch-screen voting machines by Election
Systems & Software (ES&S). Palm Beach County
decided to purchase touch-screen machines from Sequoia
last week 418 touch-screen machines in Broward, Miami-Dade
and Palm Beach counties were tested before an
audience of national television crews and various state
officials. The results: all machines counted with 100%
isn't to say there haven't been mistakes, which are naturally
viewed with a heightened sensitivity in Florida. But those
mistakes, including a recent error
on printed ballots, a
mix up in a County Commissioner race, and even some
problems in 2002, were due almost entirely to human
Krugman doesn't mention human error. Nor does he mention
the fact that, as in 2000, a vast majority of the local
officials supervising the election process in Florida are
Krugman implies there will be far more nefarious factors
at work - including the rather paranoid suggestions that
hackers and/or partisans loyal to President Bush could program
touch-screen voting machines to perform perfectly during
public testing but then somehow be reprogrammed to skew
in favor of Bush on election day.
Krugman points out, Democratic paranoia in Florida is driven
mainly by the fact that the new touch-screen voting machines
provide no "paper trail." But according to this
press release from Sequoia, each of their machines "already
allows the printing of ballots for recount and audit purposes."
UPDATE: In a related
article out today, Dr. Michael I. Shamos of the Institute
for Software Research at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh
told a Virginia legislative committee that electronic voting
machines have been used for 25 years without a "single
verified incident of tampering.")
earlier this year Democratic Congressman Robert Wexler filed
suit to try and force election officials to retrofit
all touch screen voting machines with printers. Last week
Democratic State Senator Ron Klein urged Governor Bush force
the 15 counties equipped with touch-screen voting machines
to provide voters with the option of casting paper absentee
LePore - the now famous Democrat Election Supervisor from
Palm Beach County - called Klein's proposal, "the
most absurd thing I've heard yet."
the rest of the exchange between LePore and Klein, which
I can't emphasize enough comes from a Democrat who is on
the ground and responsible for supervising the election
got four optical scanner machines and 700 precincts,"
a clearly exasperated Supervisor of Elections Theresa
LePore said. "How are we going to do it?"
not such a huge list for the supervisors to expand this,"
Klein said in Tallahassee on Thursday morning. "We're
just trying to make it easier for voters."
LePore, reached in West Palm Beach, said what Klein was
asking was a big deal. In addition to having to buy at
least 696 more optical-scan machines, Palm Beach County
would have to print enough paper ballots for the county's
710,000 voters and distribute nearly 200 variations of
the ballot to different precincts.
that, she said, would "guarantee" disaster.
they want problems, this is the way to have problems.
They keep predicting there's going to be chaos and doom
and gloom and debacle — this will guarantee it,"
LePore's outrage grew as she went on for several minutes,
claiming that the Democrats' interest in the machines
is less about voters' rights than it is about politics
— particularly those involving her race for reelection
me," she said when asked why the Democrats were pursuing
the changes. "I followed the laws and did what I'm
supposed to do, and they can't stand that. They are doing
such a disservice to the voters of this state by predicting
all these problems. What's going to end up happening is
people aren't going to come out to vote on election day.
both parties are doing it, but more so on the Democratic
Party side all over the country. They're lining their
ducks up in a row, getting ready for the lawsuits that
they're going to file so that when mistakes start happening
they can point their finger and say, I told you so."
that, my friends, is exactly what Paul Krugman is doing.
Sowing seeds of fear, doubt and illegitimacy in advance
of a possible Bush victory in Florida.
bad for Krugman the facts don't support such lunacy. A recently
completed study of the 2002 Florida elections showed that
while touch-screen machines produce a higher rate of undervotes
than optical-scanning machines, both are
dramatically more accurate than the punch card ballots used
in 2000 - with paper trail and all:
report is required of the division following every general
election as a result of the 2001 elections reform law
passed after the contentious 2000 presidential election.
concluded that the use of both systems helped reduce the
error rate from the 2000 election.
the percentage of uncounted ballots decreased from 2.93
percent in the 2000 election presidential election to
0.86 in the 2002 gubernatorial election," the report
stated, adding that the error for the now-infamous punch-card
machines in 2000 was 3.93 percent.
final thing. As to Krugman's slanderous insinuation that
Jeb Bush is working to suppress the black vote and may possibly
be involved in the impending touch-screen voting heist this
November, there's this little tidbit from the aforementioned
higher undervote rate was actually foreshadowed by Gov.
Jeb Bush's election reform task force, which in 2001 recommended
optical scan machines for all Florida counties for the
2002 elections, leaving open the option of touch-screen
machines for future years, as the technology improved...
these recommendations, election machine manufacturers,
hiring top lobbyists, successfully sold the state's largest
counties on the touch-screen machines, which cost several
times as much as optical-scan units.
there you have it. The only question left is this: when
did the NY Times opinion page decide to make itself an appropriate
venue for partisans to peddle unfounded, misleading, and
paranoid conspiracy theories? On second thought, don't answer
that. - T. Bevan 10:52 am Link
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August 16 2004
THE "RUSH TO WAR": It's a truism among
liberals today that President Bush "rushed to war"
in Iraq. The Kerry
campaign and the media sling the phrase almost daily
as a dual indictment that President Bush moved so quickly
on Iraq he 1) failed to win over vital allies (i.e. France
& Germany) and 2) failed to allow enough time to develop
a plan to win the peace.
get some perspective on just how badly this revises history,
can quibble with our liberal friends over the administration's
post-combat assumptions and executions in Iraq, but whatever
mistakes have or haven't been made there are not the result
of 'moving too quickly.'
despite what John Kerry, Howard Dean and Michael Moore want
the public to believe, there is no amount of additional
time, cajoling, diplomacy, or ass-kissing that would have
won the approval of either France or Germany to use meaningful
force against Iraq. None.
remember also that the resumption of UN inspections in Iraq
- now cited by the Democrats as the useful and definitive
work cut short by Bush's "rush to war" - only
occurred in the first place because of George W. Bush's
even that misses the point. The Bush administration's goal,
stated clearly time and time again, wasn't merely to get
Iraq to return to another round of cat-and-mouse with UN
inspectors. The administration had concluded, rightly, that
inspections would never provide America and the world with
the level of certainty required in a post-September 11 world
that Saddam did not have and was not pursuing weapons of
the goal was forcing a fundamental change in the behavior
of the Iraqi regime that included complete and full disclosure
of all weapons programs and compliance with all previous
UN resolutions. The Bush administration stated
this unequivocally in September 2002:
is not a matter of inspections. It is about disarmament
of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and the Iraqi regime's
compliance with all other Security Council resolutions,"
McClellan said in a written statement. "It is time
for the Security Council to act."
Resolution 1441 did call for "an enhanced inspection
regime," the language used in the Resolution - at the
insistence of the United States - provided Iraq with "a
final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations
under relevant resolutions of the Council" and declared
that Iraq would "face serious consequences as a result
of its continued violations of its obligations."
thereafter Iraq produced a 12,000 page WMD declaration which
including Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei found lacking,
yet the Bush administration declared openly that this was
not an automatic "trigger for war." Another three
months of negotiation would fruitlessly pass before the
invasion finally began.
we can argue with our liberal friends as to why intelligence
estimates from around the world were faulty (if that is
indeed truly what they were) and we can all speculate all
we want as to the reasons why Saddam refused to comply when
it became utterly apparent to everyone in the world that
the threat of action by the United States was not only real
shouldn't be debatable is that the Bush administration's
goal was to end the charade with Iraq once and for all.
They made it clear they would no longer tolerate half-measures,
deceptions and obstructions. Either Saddam opened up completely
or he was gone.
Marhsall are now arguing that the Bush administration
"gamed the process" and the President lied "when
he said he needed the muscle of the resolution to force
the inspectors back in and have some hope of settling the
crisis short of war." Go back and read
the speeches. That's a fundamental misinterpretation
of the Bush administration policy.
left is right about one thing: the Bush administration did
use 9/11 as a "pretext" for war with Iraq - but
only in the sense that the terrible attacks suffered that
day provided an epiphany for this administration about the
world we live in and the dangerous threats we face around
though Iraq wasn't directly involved in 9/11, the attack
served as a wake up call about the danger of tolerating
a continued (and interrelated) threat like Saddam Hussein
who possessed the relationships, ability, ambition and desire
to do catastrophic harm to America.
ALERT: From the "they-just-don't-get-it-and-they're-going-to-get-us-killed"
file, here is a stunningly muddle-headed column that ran
in Friday's Cincinnati Enquirer titled "Olympics
could inspire a truce on terror:"
the 2004 Olympics returning home to Greece, maybe this
could be a time for all countries to proclaim a truce
people from different countries really get along when
they put their political and religious differences aside?
I think the answer to that question is "Don't judge
a person until you've walked a mile in their shoes."
First we need to get to know one another, before we can
approach the topics that create wars.
let's hope the expectations of these Olympics Games bring
people together for friendship and fellowship, with a
chance for different cultures to understand one another
on a more personal level, instead of how we are perceived
by our governments."
sure Osama has suspended his plans of detonating a suitcase
nuke in Washington DC while the games are on. No doubt he's
sitting in a cave somewhere eagerly awaiting the Michael
Phelps - Ian Thorpe showdown in the 200 freestyle tonight.
not. - T. Bevan 11:00 am Link
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